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Abstract synthesis of multi-compartment architectures for use in synthetic cellular communication

McNeil, Anthony Ryan (2021) Abstract synthesis of multi-compartment architectures for use in synthetic cellular communication. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Ideas of artificial life, advanced renewable energy technologies, artificial intelligence, and other forms of state-of-the-art tech have been thought of as “futuristic endeavors”. Advancements in bio-inspired materials can contribute to mimicking biological processes in synthetic materials’ design. In addition to understanding biological systems in terms of communication, recognition, and synthesis, researchers seek to create synthetic systems in vitro that mimic that of nature. Striving towards imitating complex biological functionality will allow materials to integrate these advanced biological functions such as intracellular and intercellular communication and possibly create new emergent properties in overall materials’ design. In my research, I investigated a critical aspect of cellular communication, the role of compartmentalization in functionality and mimicking biological compartmentalization in a synthetic materials’ design. The premise is to take multi-membrane structures, that mimic biological organizational constructs to implement controllable intercompartmental communication. Within this investigation, I studied several organizational strategies based on amphiphilic block copolymers (ABC) and the biopolymer alginate to create hierarchical assemblies with the capability of intercompartmental communication. Synthetic communication is monitored as a function of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) between donor and acceptor dye molecules encapsulated within individual compartments. In this thesis I describe 1) the synthesis of reproducible alginate microbeads; 2) strategies for encapsulation of dyed ABC iii polymeric micelles within alginate microbeads; and 3) inter-compartmental communication as a function of FRET. Overall, we were able to statistically determine that the average diameter of hollow alginate microbeads is 4.99±0.86 µm and is the top strategy to create translucent, monodispersed alginate beads for compartmentalization. In addition, we demonstrated that our FRET assay worked and that we were able to confirm encapsulation of dyed micelles within hollow alginate microbeads through two methods, spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy. Lastly, this study provides a tangible synthesis method of size controlling our synthesized hollow alginate beads through the inclusion of ethylene glycol. Additionally, there is strong evidence to suggest that FRET is occurring between different micelles; however, absorption data will be needed for us to evaluate and calculate concentrations of dyes within our systems. A proposed strategy to gather UV-Vis data is provided as well.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Biomimicry ; Cellular Communication; Compartmentalization; Soft Materials; Synthetic Biology; Synthetic Multicompartment
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences > Mechanical Engineering
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2022 20:29
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 20:29
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5685

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